Rev. George Miller
Jan 3, 2021
So here we are with Luke, taking his sweet time to tell us about young Jesus.
Here we have Jesus.
-Descendant of Sarah.
-Son of Mary.
-Nephew of Elizabeth.
-The happiness of Anna’s eyes.
He’s no longer a babe, he’s not yet a man. He’s a pre-teen boy doing what pre-teens do best-
Causing his parents grief and backtalkin’ his Mama.
Jesus may be the Lamb of God but he’s also a pain is his mother’s backside.
He’s with his parents making their yearly trip. But instead of going to Disney World of Lego Land, they’re at Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.
Young Jesus is having such a good time, he simply does not want to leave, so he stays behind while his parents make the journey back home.
3 days later they find him in the Temple, astounding the local folk.
But Mama and Papa are not impressed.
“Boy, if you don’t get your butt back here!”
“Don’t ‘But Ma’ me!”
Of course, Luke tells the story a bit differently, a lot classier.
Luke has Jesus speak like a mini-college professor. “Why are you searching for me. Didn’t you know I must be in Abba’s House.”
But I don’t go for that sugar-coated holiness that Luke places upon 12-year-old Jesus.
“Abbas’ House my foot!” I imagine Joseph saying.
So here we have such a wonderful story, one that offers just a glimpse into Jesus, his childhood, and his family relations.
Here we see a rather common every-day image of Jesus as just like us, navigating his way from childhood to adulthood and inadvertently hurting his parents along the way.
Who here that has ever been a parent, an uncle, and aunt, a mentor, have experienced that moment in which you realize the child you now know is no longer the child you once knew?
Who here knows what it is like to watch your child go from being lovingly dependent to becoming obnoxiously independent?
And who here knows that THIS is the path all parents, uncles, aunts, mentors must take with their beloved youth if they are ever to grow into who they are supposed to be.
Sure, we all want our children to stay young, stay innocent, to be that kid who once sat under the Christmas tree excited to open each and every present.
But eventually that child becomes the same one who rolls their eyes over how boring and silly family gatherings are.
Sure, we want to be beside our child at all times, but at some point, if we truly love them, we let them stay home alone without a babysitter, we let them go to the corner store unescorted.
We even let them drive off on their own, standing on the driveway as we watch them pull away, praying to God that they’ll be kept safe.
So here’s the thing- as holy and sacred as we want this particular family to be, they were just like us.
Mary and Joseph had their trying moments with young Jesus, and young Jesus definitely tested the limits with his Mom and Dad.
Today’s story is proof of that.
But here is the Good News- this story reminds us that Jesus was just like us.
That Emmanuel, God With Us, did not come to Earth to be a robotic vessel of heavenly information.
But that Emmanuel, God With US, came to earth in the same flesh as us to experience the same life as we do.
God did not enter into human form to be born in a mansion or live a life of a debutant.
God entered into human form to experience life the same way most of us do- complicated family structures, issues of control and expectations, family and cultural traditions.
Even the boredom of travel that no family vacation is complete without.
Jesus lived as us, like us, with us, beside us. In this way Jesus came to better understand us, represent us, speak to, and speak for us.
The child we see in today’s reading is wild and tempestuous, and we shouldn’t have it any other way.
Because the more human Jesus is, the more human we allow him to be, the more amazing we realize that Jesus is.
Because Jesus was born to a family, birthed on a family tree, Jesus becomes a richer, more developed savior of the family.
Through Jesus, God got to know, to truly experience, to further understand the human condition, and what it means to live on earth.
Because of Jesus we have a Counselor we can turn to when we are frustrated, when we feel let down, when we too become annoyed with our own family.
Because Of Jesus, God was able to fulfill the promise made to Sarah and Abraham oh so long ago that God would use their family to bless all the families of the World.
Because of Jesus, we truly know God is with us, not apart, not far away, not aloof, or distant.
But right here, by our side. With us, and for us, forever.